Pumpkin is, without question, the star of the Thanksgiving season. It’s versatile, preserves well, and easy to incorporate into both sweet and savory dishes. But I’m not here to talk about pumpkins.
The thing is, as much as I love pumpkin in almost anything, I don’t like pumpkin pie. I’ve never been a fan, which is remarkably strange considering I love pumpkin bread and cookies and cakes. Every few years I try a bite, just in case my palate has changed (so far it hasn’t). Needless to say, this results in an underwhelming end to every Thanksgiving meal.
In hunting around for an alternative option, I stumbled across an ingenious solution. Rather than overwork the oven, you can use the crock pot to slow-cook dessert while you’re eating dinner.
Using this recipe as a base, I made just a few little adjustments based on what I had on hand. (The fact that she starts out the post talking about taking a break from pumpkin was a very good sign.) While I’m sure it’s delicious with a light dusting of crumble, I found that doubling the amount of topping gave an even cover over the whole pot. If you’re going to indulge in butter-toasted goodness, you may as well commit to doing it like a proper glutton.
Start out by giving the crock pot a light coating of buttery nonstick spray (or your nonstick coating of choice). Take 4-6 apples (I used Honeycrisp), peel them, chop them into rough chunks, and throw them into that slippery slow cooker. Add a bunch of cinnamon and toss to coat.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, and spices to taste (for me that was cinnamon and ground ginger). If you would like your topping to be sweet, you could also add in some brown sugar or Splenda. Stir it well, then toss in 1/4 cup butter that has been chopped into smaller bits.
Use a pastry cutter to combine it all, then spread that delightful nutty ambrosia over the top of the apples. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Leaving it in for closer to 3 hours means the apples will be soft and gooey. If you prefer your apples to still have a bit of bite to them, 2 hours should do the trick. I’ve tried the finished product on its own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and drizzled with cream (the things I do for my readers) and I can attest that all are equally great ways to enjoy it.
As an added bonus, thanks to the use of various nuts instead of flour, this is a gluten free way to end the Thanksgiving meal. It’s also hypothetically paleo-friendly, provided you’re the type of paleo person who makes allowances for butter, and low carb if you don’t add any sugar. Most importantly, it’s just straight-up delicious.